Thursday, July 19, 2012

Montebello, Canada

Today dawned with a blue sky, puffy clouds, low humidity, and the temperature a comfy 75 or so. First order of the day was to get through the famous Ottawa flight locks – 8 step locks that drop the boat close to 80 feet.  The locks here are still hand operated, which meant that the crew had to help secure your boat, crank a set of doors shut, crank another set of doors open, help you secure your boat in the next lock, repeat again and again.  The whole thing is just a marvel of engineering.

While waiting, we were treated to the changing of the guard at Parliament, which is right above the locks…complete with bagpipers.

Once through the locks and into the Ottawa River, there is no place to stop until you get to Montebello. The Chateau Montebello, a five star hotel, is billed as the world’s largest log structure. 

We decided to skip the expensive dinner with free docking there and go on to the municipal marina.

In the small town we found a fantastic little French cheese shop, with artisanal cheeses and fresh baguettes made on site. We bought some of each, some truffle pate, some wine and enjoyed cocktail hour.

The marina slowly filled up entirely with French speakers in all manner of small cruisers and pontoon boats.  They were quite nice, and it was fun trying to communicate with them.  Surrounded by sounds of happy conversation, the evening ended with a beautiful sunset.

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